The fan reaction to the Timberwolves drafting Karl-Anthony Towns first overall and then trading back into the first round to get Apple Valley's Tyus Jones has been almost all positive.
In fact, after 11 straight seasons missing the playoffs, the Target Center might have had its loudest moment – since Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassel and Latrell Sprewell worked their way to the Western Conference Finals in 2003-04 – when Towns was announced as their pick. 1500 ESPN has video of the moment.
“I’ll say this: There are a lot of teams out there, even though it’s hard to say when we only won 16 games, but there are a lot of teams that probably wish that they were us today and I really believe that," Timberwolves coach-president Flip Saunders said after the draft, via the team's website.
The selection of Towns was all but guaranteed by every draft pundit before it happened, so it was less surprise and to a greater degree expectation.
But the acquisition of Jones, the hometown kid who just two years earlier went 18-for-18 at the free-throw line inside Target Center to help Apple Valley beat a really good Park Center team for the Minnesota Class 4A state championship, stunned Wolves nation – and Jones.
Jones was with family and friends at a downtown Minneapolis bar, less than a block from Target Center, when Saunders called him and told him he was going to be a Timberwolf.
“I knew I would be emotional whenever I heard my name called,” Jones told Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune. “But that’s just ultimate. To say I’m a Timberwolf, there’s nothing better.”
The immediate feedback from the media on the Towns and Jones picks has been mostly positive, too. Bleacher Report gave the draft an A+, saying the Wolves now have "an incredibly strong foundation." Here's how other media outlets graded Minnesota's draft.
- USA Today: A
- SB Nation: A
- Yahoo Sports: A+ for Towns, C+ for Jones
- Sports Illustrated: A for Towns, B+ for Jones
- CBS Sports: A+ for Towns, A for Jones
Time will tell if June 25 was a franchise-changing day for the Timberwolves, but the promise of a starting lineup that could feature Andrew Wiggins, Towns and Ricky Rubio, along with a hometown hero in Jones and a franchise legend in Kevin Garnett coming off the bench, makes for a very exciting future for Minnesota basketball.